London to Amsterdam via the Stena Line ferry

At 63,000 tons, the Stena Hollandica & Stena Britannica are the largest ferries serving the UK.  Watch the video guide.

London to Amsterdam via the Stena Line ferry

Captain's Class cabin with shower, toilet & satellite TV

Buy train tickets from London to Amsterdam via ferry

London to Holland from 62

There's a Rail & Sail service from London or Any Greater Anglia station to Rotterdam, Amsterdam & the Netherlands.  You can leave central London by train at 18:45, sleep in a cosy private cabin with shower, toilet, WiFi & satellite TV on the luxurious Stena Line superferry from 21:00 to 08:00, and be in Rotterdam at 09:00 or Amsterdam Centraal at 10:25.  It saves an expensive hotel room in London or Amsterdam and it's an experience in itself, see the video.

CO2 savings:  Flight = 68 Kg CO2 per passenger, Rail & Sail = 13.6 Kg = 80% saving (Source).

Times, fares, tickets

small bullet point  London to Amsterdam by overnight ferry  

small bullet point  London to Amsterdam by daytime ferry

small bullet point  Amsterdam to London by overnight ferry

small bullet point  Amsterdam to London by daytime ferry

small bullet point  How much does it cost?

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  Route map

small bullet point  What's the journey like?

small bullet point  Choice of cabin types

small bullet point  Watch the video guide

 

On other pages

small bullet point  London to Amsterdam by Eurostar

small bullet point  To the Netherlands by Hull-Rotterdam ferry

small bullet point  To the Netherlands by Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry

small bullet point  Trains from Amsterdam to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from other European cities to Amsterdam

small bullet point  Amsterdam Centraal station guide

small bullet point  Amsterdam hotels

small bullet point  Map of Amsterdam

Timetable 2024 London ► Amsterdam

The night boat

The day boat

Timetable 2024 Amsterdam ► London

The night boat

The day boat

How much does it cost?

About these fares

Luggage, dogs & bikes

How to buy tickets starting in the UK

How to buy tickets starting in the Netherlands

Route map

Click for larger mapHighlighted = London to Amsterdam train & ferry route. Green = scenic routesRed = high-speed lines.

Reproduced from the excellent European Rail Map with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.  I recommend buying the European Rail Map for your travels and a copy of the European Rail Timetable, www.europeanrailtimetable.eu with shipping worldwide.

What's the journey like?

1.  London to Harwich by train

The train to Harwich International leaves from London Liverpool Street station in the City of London, see station location map.

There is no check-in, just board the train any time before it leaves.  The departure board will tell you which platform it leaves from, staff will let you through the ticket gates if you show your Stena Line e-ticket.  The Stena e-ticket is all you need for this train journey.

The train is air-conditioned with free WiFi & toilets.  There are no reserved seats, you sit where you like, you'll have no problem finding a seat.  Luggage goes on the racks or simply on the floor.  It's just 82 minutes to Harwich, you can also board the train at Stratford, Shenfield, Chelmsford, Colchester & Manningtree.

Tip 1:  On a weekday evening, Liverpool Street station is busy with commuters and the station bars can be hectic.  A more peaceful place to wait with a coffee or beer is the Eastway Brasserie (eastwaybrasserie.co.uk) or 1901 Wine Lounge, both part of the Andaz London Liverpool Street Hotel, formerly the historic Great Eastern Hotel.  Go up the big escalators opposite platforms 1-4, exit the station and turn left along the station facade.

Tip 2:   Tickets are good for any train, not just the advertised ferry connections.  When connecting with the night boat, why not catch an earlier train from London to Manningtree, have a pint and some food in the excellent station bar on the platform there, then travel on to Harwich?

Tip 3:  If you want to be first onto the ship at Harwich, sit at the rear of the train - although the front will be emptier if you want to spread out.

Liverpool Street station, London

London Liverpool Street station.

Seats on the train from London to Harwich   Train from London to Harwich, at London Liverpool Street

The train to Harwich International is air-conditioned with toilets & free WiFi.

2. Harwich to Hoek van Holland by Stena Line ferry

At Harwich, the train arrives directly at the ferry terminal - you'll see the ship on your left as the train pulls in.  Walk back along the platform towards the rear of the train, head up over the footbridge (there's a lift if you have heavy luggage or mobility problems) then go through the glass doors at the London end of the platform into the ferry terminal and up the escalators to the first floor.

Boarding the ferry:  This is a breeze compared to airports or even the queues at St Pancras for boarding Eurostar.  Walk through the door marked Departures.  Stena Line staff will check your ticket as you enter.  Then you put your bags through the X-ray machine and walk through the metal detector, and have your passport checked by UK Border Force.  At the check-in desk, Stena Line staff scan the barcode on your e-ticket and print your cabin key.  Now you walk up the passenger gangway onto the Stena Line ferry.  Outside peak periods It can take as little as 15 minutes from train to ship.

On board:  You enter the ship on deck 7, take stairs or lift to deck 9 where all the passenger facilities are located including bars, restaurant, shop, lounges & the guest services desk.  All cabins are on decks 10 & 11.  There is open deck towards the stern on deck 9 for some sea air and a sealed & ventilated smoking lounge forward on deck 9 if you're a smoker.  The Stena Plus Lounge has complimentary tea, coffee, red & white wine, snacks & soft drinks.  On a day crossing, I recommend paying for a private cabin (they're half price by day), as you can snooze, shower, watch TV, or just relax or work in privacy.

WiFi:  WiFi is available on board on deck 9 and in cabins, free for email & simple browsing with a paid-for package for faster higher-bandwidth access.  You can use your normal mobile phone data while the ferry is in or near port.  Switch it to flight mode when at sea.

All-weather reliable and steady as a rock.  I've never known these ferries cancelled or hit by strikes.  They normally run spot on time, I've only ever known them late once, and that was a (more tightly-timed) January daytime crossing making headway into a Force 11 storm.  The Stena Line superferries are 63,000 tons GT (Gross Tonnage), the largest Ro-Pax ships serving the UK, steady as a rock in almost all weathers.  Indeed, crossing in winter as a 'named' Force 10 storm lashed the North Sea, I fell asleep before she sailed, woke briefly in the night and felt some minor undulation, fell asleep again and woke at Harwich as we arrived spot on time.  I've sailed to the Netherlands at Christmas watching BBC news on our cabin TV about Heathrow closed due of snow and all flights grounded - the Stena Liner sailed & arrived spot on time as always.  In contrast to flights (and even Eurostar) this is the all-weather reliable route!

Stena Line ferry boarding at Harwich

Lights ablaze, restaurant & bars already open, the ferry boards at Harwich International.  Click the images below for larger photos.

Lounge & cafe on the Stena Line ferry to Holland

Lounge and cafe, aft on deck 9 aboard the Stena Britannica.  So civilised compared to an airline seat.

Restaurant on the Stena Line ferry to Holland

Self-service restaurant, forward on deck 9.  The food counter is out of shot to the right.

Bar on the Stena Line ferry to Hoek van Holland   Open deck on the Stena Line ferry to Hoek van Holland

Above left, the bar on deck 9.  Above right, open deck aft on deck 9 for some sea air.

Stena Plus lounge on the ferry to Hoek van Holland

Stena Plus lounge, available for an extra fee paid on board or when booking.  It's delightfully quiet and peaceful, with complimentary red & white wine, soft drinks, tea & coffee, cakes & snacks.  Main dishes can be ordered from the steward at extra cost and served at your seat.  Children under 8 are not admitted.  The lounge was relocated and enlarged in January 2024, replacing the former la carte restaurant.  Highly recommended!

Choice of cabin

A private cabin is compulsory on the night boat, optional (but half-price and a good idea) on the day boat.  All cabins have an en suite toilet & shower, satellite TV, all necessary bedding, towels, soap & shampoo.  There a desk with power sockets (UK 3-pin & European 2-pin) for laptops & mobiles.  Outside cabins have a window, inside cabins don't.  Stena Line are so proud of their Dux beds they put the Dux logo on the cabin doors - and it's true, the beds are extremely comfortable.  The satellite TV has BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, and several Dutch Channels, plus a channel showing a forward view from the bridge and a channel which cycles through CCTV camera in the kennels so you can see your dog.  Click the images for larger photos.

Standard inside cabin   Standard outside cabin

Standard inside cabin, 1 or 2 berth

 

Standard outside cabin, 1 or 2 berth.  See 360 photo.

4 or 5 berth outside cabin   Toilet & shower in every cabin   Corridor on 11 deck

Standard 4 or 5 berth cabin ideal for families.

 

All have shower & toilet.

 

Cabins are on decks 10 & 11.

Comfort class cabin   Captain's class cabin

Comfort Class cabin 1 or 2 berth, complimentary minibar, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer.

 

Captain's Class cabin with double bed, complimentary minibar with wine, tea & coffee facilities, hairdryer.

Captain's suite sitting room   Captain's suite bedroom

Captain's Suite with bedroom & separate sitting room, double bed, complimentary minibar with sparkling wine, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer, widescreen TV.  The ship has just two Captain's suites.  The bedroom has a forward view.

Stena Line ferry arrived at Hoek van Holland

The huge 63,000 ton Stena Britannica arrived at Hoek van Holland in the morning.

3. Hoek van Holland to Schiedam Centrum by metro

Disembarkation:  Foot passengers gather on Deck 9 near the guest services desk as the ship docks, when the gangway opens just after docking you simply walk off the ship along the gangway into the Stena Line terminal.  Your passport is checked by the Dutch police, then you walk out of the terminal building through the main rotating glass doors and across the forecourt to the RET (Rotterdam Transit) metro station.  You can often be off the ship and onto a metro train in as little as 15 minutes.

Now take the metro!  You don't need to have a ticket, just a hold a valid contactless bank card against the card reader on the metro station ticket gates and they will open.  Your account will be debited with the adult one-way fare when you exit the metro at the end of your metro journey, it's as simple as that.  If you have bought a metro ticket on your phone or at the self-service ticket machines, the barcode will operate the ticket gates.

Hoek van Holland is the starting point for metro line B, trains run every 20 minutes weekdays, every 30 minutes weekends, taking 23 minutes to Schiedam Centrum, 30 minutes to downtown Rotterdam & 50 minutes to Rotterdam Alexander.  The end destination of line B is Nesselande.  Luggage goes with you, on the floor or in a special luggage area.

Get off at Schiedam Centrum for mainline trains to Den Haag, Leiden, Haarlem & Amsterdam Centraal.

Get off at Eendrachtsplein and walk to Rotterdam Centraal, an easy 850m 11 minute stroll, see walking map.  Or if you'd rather not walk, take the metro from Hoek van Holland to Beurs and change onto metro line D or E 2 stops to Rotterdam Centraal.

Get off at Rotterdam Alexander for mainline trains to Gouda, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Zwolle, Groningen & Leeuwarden.  There are no ticket gates at Rotterdam Alexander (at least, there weren't last time I was there), so remember to touch out from the metro & touch in again on the mainline platform if you are using a contactless bank card.  Touching in and out is not necessary if you have a print-at-home ticket.

The Hoek of Holland-Rotterdam metro started running on 30 September 2019, after two years converting this former mainline route to light rail.  The metro runs above ground all the way to Schiedam, over a right of way that until the 1990s was used by expresses from Hoek of Holland to places as far afield as Copenhagen or Moscow, running in connection with the ferries.  A historic link!

Hoek van Holland metro station

Hoek van Holland metro station, literally just across the road from the ferry terminal main exit, the ferry terminal is out of shot to the left.  There are ticket gates at the entrance to the platforms.  You want the platform on the left for trains to Schiedam & Rotterdam.  Metro photo courtesy of www.youtube.com/@MidlandLondon.

Metro from Hoek van Holland   Inside the metro from Hoek van Holland

4. Schiedam Centrum to Amsterdam by Intercity train

For Delft, Den Haag, Leiden, Haarlem or Amsterdam, get off the metro at Schiedam Centrum.  Schiedam Centrum has 4 metro platforms & 5 mainline platforms.  The metro arrives on one side of the station, the train to Amsterdam leaves from platform 5 on the other side.  Go down the escalators or lift from the metro platform, out through the metro ticket gates, then through the NS (Dutch Railways) ticket gates using a contactless bank card or by scanning the barcode on your e-ticket or printed ticket, then up the escalators or lift to platform 5.

The Dutch Intercity train to Amsterdam is double-deck, get an upstairs seat for the best views.  There are toilets & free WiFi on board.  Luggage goes on the racks or in the gaps between seat backs.  You arrive at Amsterdam Centraal, walking distance from almost all of Amsterdam's sights.  See Amsterdam Centraal station guide.

Intercity train at Schiedam Centrum

Boarding the double-deck Intercity train at Schiedam Centrum, platform 5.

Seats on the intercity train to Amsterdam   Intercity train to Amsterdam

Upper deck seats on the Intercity to Amsterdam.

 

Double-deck Intercity train at Amsterdam Centraal.

Amsterdam Centraal station, exterior

Amsterdam Centraal station.  See Amsterdam Centraal station  guide.

Tips for changing at Rotterdam Alexander

If you're travelling between Hoek van Holland and Gouda, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Zwolle, Leeuwarden or Groningen, it's quickest and easiest to change between metro & NS mainline trains at Rotterdam Alexander, a little way east of central Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Alexander is only a small station, with 2 metro platforms at street level & 2 Dutch Railways high-level platforms on an embankment reached by stairs, escalator or lift.

When travelling eastbound from London & Hoek van Holland you want NS (Dutch Railways) platform 1 for Utrecht & beyond.

When travelling westbound towards London you want metro platform 1 for Hoek van Holland.

Rotterdam Alexander station

Rotterdam Alexander metro platforms.  This is metro platform 2, where the metro from Hoek arrives.  Direction of arriving train shown by lower arrow.

The mainline NS tracks cross these lines at right angles on the embankment/bridge in the background.  Upper arrow shows direction of trains to Utrecht & beyond.

Arriving from Hoek van Holland, go through the ticket gates off this platform into the small station building, then through ticket gates and up the escalators to NS platform 1 for trains to Utrecht & beyond. Photo courtesy of Joep Oomens.

Video guide: London to Amsterdam

 

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Hotels in Amsterdam

  • Tip:  Book your accommodation in Amsterdam early, as it can be difficult to find rooms at peak periods at short notice, the better and cheaper rooms quickly sell out.  You'll also find prices vary significantly even at the same hotel, depending on the season and what's going on in the city.

  • The ultimate Amsterdam hotel is The Grand, now the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam.  From around 300 per night upwards for a double room, this is one of the most famous hotels in Amsterdam, 5 minutes walk from Dam Square and 10 minutes walk from Centraal Station.  For something smaller, slightly cheaper but equally special, try the Canal House boutique hotel, 15 minutes walk from the station, 205 upwards.

  • Mid-range to top end:  The Park Plaza Victoria Hotel gets great reviews and is very convenient as it's on the corner just across the road from Amsterdam Centraal station, doubles from around 135 upwards per night.  In a similar price bracket, try the Kimpton de Witt Amsterdam Centre, 6 minutes walk from Amsterdam Centraal and also with excellent reviews. 

  • Mid-range:  The Hotel Luxer is cheaper, from around 109 upwards per night, and also just 7 minutes walk from Centraal station with great reviews.  Also try The Times Hotel, Hotel Tourist Inn or Daily Rooms Hotel.  Or the Hotel Sebastians, around 115 per night, equally well located 10 minutes walk from Centraal station, another hotel which gets great reviews.

  • Cheapies:  There are many cheap hotels, including many near the station, but very few get outstanding reviews.  For ones that do, try the floating boat hotel AmiciA (formerly Friesland), around 45 per night 15 minutes walk from the station or the Rembrandt Hotel from 80, 10 min walk from Dam Square though 20 minutes walk from the station.

Hotels in Rotterdam

AirBnB:  www.airbnb.com

  • www.airbnb.com began in 2008 when two designers who had space to share hosted three travellers looking for a place to stay.  AirBnB is a platform which connects hosts with guests, so you can now book a room in people's homes, or an apartment, flat or house which people want to rent out.  It can be nicer than a hostel, cheaper than many hotels.

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com

  • www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.


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